Top Read Choice This Holiday Is FREE From GEM
TOP of everyone’s holiday reading list should be a slim pamphlet that comes free of charge from road safety champions GEM Motoring Assist (GEM). But unlike a Richard and Judy recommendation this is not for packing ready for a relaxing hour on the beach, but needs to be browsed before the journey commences and a quick essential checklist made.
The GEM gratis publication, called Your Introduction to Driving in Europe, deals with the increasingly popular activity of motoring on the continent with cheap ferries and a fast train services making these the chosen routes above crowded airports with delays and surcharges for flights.
“The attraction of the open continental roads carrying much less traffic than UK highways and usually in better condition than our rutted cart tracks really are a draw for the modern, more adventurous motorist,” says GEM Chief Executive David Williams. “The problem is very few new drivers on the continent appreciate that every European country has different rules and regulations that can be enforced with real vigour – even to the point of your vehicle being impounded.”
David said the GEM booklet explains the differences in national motoring law in simple clear language with country-by-country examples as well as some general rules about being properly prepared.
“Treat the pamphlet as a piece of informative bed-time reading, make a few notes and in the morning pop it in the glove box for future reference and use your list to check your car is ready for the trip,” says David. “In this way your journey across the channel stands a very good chance of being enjoyable and trouble free and without confusing discussions with the local police.”
David explained that even our nearest neighbour, Ireland, has a different style of driving with many rural three-lane roads. “Some countries have some unusual rules – in Germany it is an offence to make rude signs to other road users or run out of fuel on a motorway. In Austria you must not park a caravan with 500m of a lake and in Portugal you must park your vehicle in the same direction as the traffic flow.”
The leaflet is packed with useful checklists – such as discovering your level of insurance cover and driving licence requirements. Good hints include spare spectacles (if worn) for each driver, as these are a legal requirement in many countries you may be passing through.
“The whole aim of GEM is ensure foreign travel is enjoyable and satisfying with safety as a priority,” says David. “A few minutes bed-time reading and a bit of preparation will do the trick.”